Florham Park Chiropractor | Florham Park chiropractic care | NJ | Blog

17 Hanover Rd #300
Florham Park, NJ 07932

973-240-7251

Blog
 

All Muscles Will Stretch

by Dr. Matt McGowan DC

May 2017


“I have always had tight hamstrings, no matter how much I stretch them, they are always tight.”  Have you ever heard yourself or someone else say something similar about one of their muscles?  There are only two main reasons that can be true:  


  1. You haven’t stretched long enough or hard enough

  2. You aren’t stretching the correct muscle


Case one needs no further explanation.  The more common issue is case number two.  The best way to explain case number two is by using hamstring muscles as an example.  If a patient comes into our office with “tight hamstrings,” it’s our job to figure out why they are tight.  The first thing we need to check is whether the sensation they are feeling is even coming from the hamstrings.  Often the feeling of tension on your sciatic nerve can mimic the feel of tightness in the hamstring muscles.   If they’re indeed dealing with sciatic tension and stretching the hamstrings constantly, not only are they not going to improve, but will actually make the problem worse over time by further irritating the nerve.  


A second scenario we often see is that the hamstrings are “tight” because they are chronically in a stretched and stressed position due to the position of your pelvis.  Most people are “quadriceps dominant” which pulls downward on the pelvis in turn pulling upwards on the hamstrings.  This creates an imbalance of strength and the hamstrings will continually be sent signals from the brain to stay tight in order to try and offset this position. The key to fixing the hamstrings in this scenario is to loosen the quads, restore balance to the pelvis, and strengthen the hamstrings.  


It can be complicated to work through this on your own.  If you feel like you have an issue with an area of the body that will just not loosen up for you, come in, have it evaluated and figure out the correct treatment as you head towards optimal health.  


 

 

Spring Green Cleaning:  Making our homes clean and safe!

by Dr. Melissa Sonners

April 2017


The day I turned around for a few seconds and turned back to find a baby Levi spraying our household cleaner into his mouth was a day I will never forget.   I quickly called the company on the bottle and asked them what to do.  They chuckled and assured me, no problem.  They said there was nothing to worry about.   Luckily, he had only ingested a small amount, but even luckier than that, we were using (and continue to use) essential oil cleaning products.  


Our kids play on our floors and, at times, eat fallen snacks right off our counters.  Not only that, their little developing lungs breathe in the air in our home, sleep on their sheets and lie on our rugs.   This is one of the main reasons that most of the time I use the cleanest products available in our home.   As I learn more and more about what is in traditional products, our older, more toxic household products have been and continue to be replaced with essential oil cleaning products.  From our laundry to our countertops and floors to our dishwasher and  our produce cleaning spray,  clean cleaning products keep our house smelling fresh while being safe and at times beneficial to breathe in.   


Dr. Meagan and I will be offering a workshop on Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils this month.  We will talk about essential oils and how to use them in your home and replace some of your go-to cleaning products.  Stay tuned for details.   




Take a Trip to the Grocery Store with Dr. Jason and Dr. Melissa

by Dr. Jason Sonners

March 2017


Whether I am treating someone with specific nutritional needs or working with someone on a more typical mechanical complaint like a shoulder or back issue, invariably the topic of nutrition comes up and somehow becomes a theme with my patients.

Very often I get a comment like, “I would just love to go shopping with you guys and see what you buy at the grocery store.” While actually coming with us would be difficult to coordinate, I decided to write this month’s blog on the topic to share some of what we buy and why with you.

Olive Oil

Cooking/Buying Tip:  Whenever possible you should not cook with olive oil. It does not tolerate heat well and turns into a trans-fat when it goes rancid under high heat. (Very light heat for a short time is ok). If sautéing veggies or cooking chicken or other proteins in some way, olive oil should not be used. We use it after the food is cooked and drizzle it on for flavor.  Looking for “extra virgin” is a must on the label. Finding “USDA organic” on the label is a bonus as well since oil producer organizations such as the California Olive Oil Council and the Australian Olive Association require olive oil to meet quality standards that are stricter than the minimal USDA standards. You can look for their seal on the bottles.

Why we eat it:  Olive oil is great for increasing Omega 9 fats which is great for heart and brain function, increasing HDL’s and decreasing LDL’s.

Other sources of Omega 9: avocado, sesame seeds, pistachio and macadamia nuts

Coconut Oil

Cooking tip:  You can cook (on high heat) with coconut oil because it is saturated; it tolerates very high heat without converting to trans-fats. It does have a specific flavor; which depending on the dish may or may not be desirable. So keep that in mind when using it with different meals.

Why we eat it:  Coconut is a source of saturated vegetable fats. These are medium chain triglycerides which have many benefits including increasing HDL’s, decreasing inflammation in the body, providing a great source of energy and also helping in prevention of diseases like dementia, heart disease and cancer. Coconut oil can also be used for, among other uses, oil pulling, skin and lip moisturizing, and make-up removal.

Avocado Oil

Cooking/Buying Tip:  This is another vegetable based saturated fat that is great for cooking purposes. (By the way, saturated fats are healthy and safe to eat.) Unlike coconut oil, avocado oil does not have much flavor at all so it takes on the flavor of whatever you are cooking in it. We use both often, we just decide which one we want based on the flavors we are looking to create. We use it often as part of a salad dressing as well.

Why we eat it:  The benefits of avocado oil combine the benefits of both coconut and olive oil. It also has lutein which is great for our eyes, provides vitamin E, and helps to reduce inflammation in our bodies.

Eggs

Cooking/Buying Tip:  We eat a lot of eggs in our house! Between the four of us who eat solid foods (we have a seven month old on a liquid diet) we eat between 2-3 dozen eggs per week. By far, the softer they are cooked the more nutritious they are (some of the nutrients are sensitive to heat) but either way they are very healthy. If by chance you happen to not have your own chicken, there are a few key words to look for when buying eggs. It is best to find eggs that contain the words “Organic” and “Pasture Raised” or at least “Cage Free” is better than the standard eggs we can purchase.

Why we eat them:  They are a complete protein (like all animal based proteins) they contain all essential and non-essential amino acids. They have a decent amount of B vitamins (B2, 5, 9 and 12), have a great range of necessary minerals (calcium, zinc, iron, potassium and more) and are very low in carbohydrates. The majority of nutrients live in the yolk, so eating the yolk is recommended.

Contrary to popular belief, the cholesterol in our food makes up a very low percentage of our total cholesterol. So unless your cholesterol is wildly out of control eating eggs will not have a negative impact on your blood work and more eggs also help to increase HDL’s (the “good” cholesterol).

Zucchini

Cooking/Buying Tip:  Whether you are looking for a pasta alternative or just looking for an interesting way to prepare veggies, shredded zucchini makes for a healthy, low carbohydrate and fun way to eat your veggies. Once shredded (spiralizer or shredding peeler both work) cook the zucchini in a pan by itself for a while. This will cook out some of the water that would make the rest of the meal soggy. Once the zucchini is cooked down and drained (cook it until it is as soft as you like it) you can add it to a stir fry, or meat sauce/meatballs or any other pasta-like dish you have prepared.

Why we eat it:  This is a low carb, high nutrient vegetable that is easy to cook with and versatile in terms of pairing it with other foods. Zucchini contains B1, B2, B3, B6 and B9, plenty of minerals (magnesium, phosphorus, copper and zinc) and is a source of omega 3 fatty acids.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Cooking/Buying Tip:  We use apple cider vinegar (ACV) as a dressing as well as medicinally. Most of my salads are dressed with avocado oil or olive oil along with apple cider vinegar. The ACV we buy is organic, raw and unfiltered. It should say those three terms on the bottle. If I am using it therapeutically I will take a spoonful once or twice a day. Melissa often makes a drink with warm water, ACV and lemon.

Why we eat it:  ACV has many reported benefits from improved digestion to immune system building. Apple cider vinegar can help reducing mucus production, help clear sinus congestion and help relieve sore throats. ACV may also help keep blood sugar more under control, reduce dandruff, reduce nighttime muscle cramps and much more.

Quick Go-To Snacks

Protein shakes:  We typically recommend vegetable-based protein shakes since the whey and casein in many dairy-based shakes tend to disagree with people’s tummies. We typically use Paleo Meal Dairy Free in our shakes.

Meat Sticks:  Provided the sources of meat are of high quality (grass fed/grass finished, organic, hormone free and pasture raised) I do not see an issue eating moderate amounts these proteins.  As far as jerky and sticks go, it is important that there are also low or no amounts of dangerous preservatives.  We use a company called Nick’s Sticks which can be ordered online.

Nuts and seeds:  We also eat quite a bit of nuts and seeds. I prefer pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, walnuts and pistachio based on their nutrient profile and lower carbohydrate content though other nuts and seeds are generally fine to eat as well. I recommend looking for raw and organic versions of these as these are typically healthier for us.

I hope these tips from our family, help your household along on your journey toward improved health.  


Baby’s First Adjustment

by Dr. Meagan McGowan

February 2017


Often while treating an expectant Mom we discuss the benefits of chiropractic care throughout pregnancy.  During her prenatal care, we constantly discuss the progression of her pregnancy.  I invite her to share her birth plan and what she envisions for the birth and delivery of her baby.  Discussing these thoughts leads to many exciting and highly anticipated feelings surrounding the arrival of her baby.  I love these conversations because they often lead to questions about how chiropractic care can assist in recovery post delivery, and most exciting, how

chiropractic care can benefit her newborn baby.


“How soon after delivery can I bring my baby in for an adjustment?”


Answer.  As soon as you feel comfortable.


Our son was adjusted only hours after being born.  There are many reasons for this.  Labor and delivery requires teamwork, Mom and baby both playing their own vital roles, working in harmony to ensure a safe and healthy delivery.  The process of delivery, even in the healthiest of births, is still stressful on baby.  The primitive reflexes that develop in utero are quickly called upon during delivery.  The baby is required to physically exist independently of Mom in a matter of moments, and it is the job of the nervous system and development of the primitive reflexes that make baby’s ability to breathe and feed seemingly so automatic.   The sudden change in environment subjects their beautifully innocent nervous system to stress.  They leave a warm, dark, quiet place and are immediately required to react to an environment full of stimuli.  Prior to this, they spend on average 40 weeks in utero.  Although a woman’s body provides a safe and secure environment, the baby is still reacting to any stress Mom endures, whether physical, chemical, or emotional.  


For a baby, receiving the first chiropractic adjustment after being born is an incredible gift.  As Mom has absorbed stress, the baby has as well.  Their body must process and react to that stress, and an adjustment will alleviate stress and provide the baby with a solid foundation of good health.  Growth and development is a job in itself for our little ones, ensuring their body is up for the task and transitioning strong is a way we can make day to day a little lighter for them.  


As I mentioned in my previous blog regarding appropriate and safe prenatal care, I strongly suggest always seeking treatment from a Doctor of Chiropractic who specializes in the treatment of pediatrics.  Although our goal of achieving optimal health is the same for adults and kids, the technique is slightly different.  Adjusting a newborn, a toddler, an adolescent, all require a different touch.  The assessment of their body and the understanding of how their body is communicating at such a young age is pertinent to their treatment and beneficial outcome.  Specializing in pediatric care allows us at Core Therapies to treat each individual child appropriately, adjusting our approach and our touch, always taking into consideration the age, size, and development of the child.


I will leave you with this:  Treating children is one of the most rewarding and fun experiences of my practice.  The way they interpret and understand their treatment is absolutely amazing.  Witnessing a child become so aware of their own body and feelings that they request an adjustment is just incredible.  They know that it agrees with them and they enjoy the experience.  Having a child feel comfortable with you, trust you, and smile at you while you adjust them is the greatest compliment.  

 

 

 

Is Your January “Detox” Actually a Good Idea?

 

By Dr. Laura DeCesaris

January 2017

 

As we welcome a new year, I’d like to talk about something that seems to have become a tradition in the health and wellness world in January:  The “Detox.”  Many of us may feel that we overindulged in the holiday months, and that the beginning of a new year is the perfect time to try that juice cleanse or detoxification program that our friend’s sister’s cousin-in-law is raving about!  But what if we thought a little differently not only about the concept of a “detox,” but also about timing and whether or not this time of year is truly the best time to make big changes in our lives?

 

First, what is a “detox”?  It’s become a slang word for crash dieting in some spheres, but it’s intended to mean lightening the toxic load of food, stress, and the environment on our bodies.  People tend to try to change the way they eat after the holidays because they feel quite literally hung over from alcohol, sugar, and other foods and treats that the holidays bring.  To truly detoxify ourselves, however, it’s important that we address our individual ability to actually detoxify, as well as something called our total toxic load - in other words, are we ACTUALLY toxic in the first place?  If you want to clean up your diet for a few weeks to drop a few pounds you put on over the holidays, don’t call it a detox - it’s a diet, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  But sipping juice for 10 days will typically result in a brief period of great skin, some changes in energy and even weight loss, only to see that weight return in the subsequent months as you go back to your typical ways of eating.  

 

Rather than focus on cutting things out of your diet this January, I’d like you to focus on what you can add IN.  Instead of telling yourself, “I’m going to cut out all sugar, alcohol, grains, and dairy, and hit the gym 5 days a week,” try the following:  Each week, make a goal of what you can add IN to your life. That may be vegetables from every color of the rainbow, a green smoothie in the morning, ten minutes of meditation each evening, or a night out with your significant other every week.  Been dying to try that new restaurant in town, but it was impossible to get a reservation during the holidays? If you’re “detox-ing,” eating out is usually a no-no.  Use this time to go eat at that restaurant - the business owner will thank you, as January is typically a slower season for local business!  Focus on doing something for you every day, or focus on trying a new workout each week.  DON’T cut out solid food, drink maple syrup-vinegar-potions, or fast for 48 hours while working out every day (please!).

 

I personally love when people save their “detoxes” for the spring.  It’s a better time of year for those changes, and generally people are in a different mindset as the sunshine and warmer weather starts to return.  Just keep in mind if you do plan on doing a new year’s “detox” - one “detox” plan does NOT work for everyone, and we all have very individual abilities to actually process and detoxify our environment.  I’m happy to help anyone who is interested identify what their toxic load actually is, and help you create an individualized plan to reach your health and wellness goals.  My big suggestion is to wait a few months before thinking about what you want to cut out, and spend the time now on focusing on what you can add in.  For now - add in a workout, add in some fresh produce, add in some quality time with your loved ones!  

 

 

“Where did this pain come from?”

By Dr. Matthew McGowan 

December 2016


The most common question I am asked daily in practice is some form of the following: 

“Why did this happen?”

“How can I just wake up with this?”

 “What could have caused this?”

Often the answer is not a simple one.  If you fall into this category, it is usually due to a conglomeration of issues causing you to reach a pain threshold.  The best way to understand this is via a bar graph.

 

 

Figure 1 on the left represents a person staying just below the level of noticeable pain.

Figure 2 on the right shows a person who has crossed over into pain.


In these figures, the dotted line represents a symptom threshold.  Anything below this line your brain does not interpret as pain.  Anything above it and our brain says, “ouch.”   We live day to day hopefully fluctuating well below this line. 

The horizontal line is time; you can look at it day to day, month to month, or even year to year.   As time progresses, we acquire and remove “blocks.”  Blocks can be removable, reducible, or permanent.  Permanent blocks are represented in red.  Examples of permanent blocks can be from surgery, a birth defect, and genetic predispositions.  These are all things that cannot be changed or helped and must be factored into your daily routines and activity levels.  The blue blocks are the ones that are being added and deleted daily; they can also expand and contract.  These are added in the case of over exercising, not getting enough sleep, not stretching, stress, etc.  We will see a reduction of these blue blocks by getting adjusted, sleeping well, eating well, doing yoga, stretching etc. 

The blue blocks are the reason we do what we do here at Core Therapies.  Our goal is to control what we can, and get you as far below that pain threshold as possible.  So when a person asks me, “How can I just wake up with pain…I’ve have been sleeping this way my whole life?”  The answer is in the bar graph.  You may have woken up in pain because you skipped stretching after your exercise class on Tuesday, ate poorly all week, and have stress at work.  This morning, you hit the symptom threshold...you hit the dotted line.  Ouch!

We always need to look at the whole picture and at what other areas of our lives may be affecting our health and wellness. 

 

 

 

 

Start Now

by Dr. Melissa Sonners

November 2016


'Tis the beginning of the holiday season and the time of year when it can be tempting to put off our usual workouts and clean eating routines.  Years ago a patient told me that she wanted to get on track with eating and working out, but that she would wait until February because no point in starting before the holidays.  Unfortunately, she told me her plans in late October!

If you count up the holidays during November, December and January - depending on what you observe - it might be as many as ten or even fifteen days.  If you consider that each holiday probably includes a special holiday meal, you’ll be breaking your routine for just 10-15 meals during these three months when you’ll eat approximately 276 meals overall (figuring 3 meals per day).  Looked at from that perspective, it  doesn’t seem so awful.

So why not start now? Even if you allow yourself to indulge in all those holiday meals you will still be way ahead come January.  So go ahead and sneak some of your kids’ Halloween candy, enjoy your turkey dinner and pie, and have those Christmas cookies or Hanukkah latkes.  Then get back on your healthy eating routine, head for the gym and don’t look back!


 

 

 

Our Annual Halloween Dilemma

by Dr. Jason Sonners

October 2016


By the time you are reading this, summer is officially over, September has vanished, we are back in the fall swing of things and I am writing a blog about Halloween. Wow, time is really flying by.

I wanted to put a Halloween idea out there that we have been using in our family for a few years. I really do like the holiday. Melissa and I enjoy dressing up and of course our kids love it.  Last year, in addition to going house to house for treats, we also participated in a parade in Morris Plains with Drs. Matt and Meagan and their son Briggs.  To us, the holiday is a fun time to dress up, play and see friends and family.

Not surprisingly, our issue is the extraordinary amount of candy and sugar that celebrating this holiday exposes our little ones to.  It’s not as if they never have any candy, and it is certainly not that they cannot have some on Halloween.  It’s just that we do not think they need a pillowcase full of sugar to eat little by little for 3 weeks.  This is why we began to introduce the “Switch Witch.”

The Switch Witch, not unlike the tooth fairy, comes to our home late at night while everyone is sleeping and exchanges each child’s  bag of candy for a toy of their choice.  Before she comes, we let them pick a few of their favorite pieces of candy to keep and eat, but the rest goes with the Witch.

The morning after Halloween, they awake to a toy by their bed that they love while forgetting all about the big bag of candy they collected the night before. Everyone’s happy.

In speaking with other families, I have heard the Switch Witch leaves money for some kids, toys  or books for others…whatever works!

If you too are concerned about Halloween sugar consumption, maybe our “Switch Witch” can make a visit to your family this year.   There’s no reason to miss out on the fun of this fun family holiday.

Happy Halloween!


 


Chiropractic and Pregnancy

by Dr. Meagan McGowan

September 2016




Whether planning to become pregnant, or as a part of a woman’s pre-natal or post-natal care, chiropractic care is safe and beneficial throughout all stages of pregnancy.  It is very common to think of chiropractic care as treatment for physical symptoms, a pain or injury, but seeking chiropractic care as a part of your regular health regime throughout pregnancy is greatly recommended.  Just like you would adjust your diet, take prenatal vitamins, attend supportive and educational classes, and schedule visits with your pregnancy care provider, being regularly adjusted is just as important.  


Chiropractic is incredibly safe for Mom and baby.  Our tables at Core Therapies adjust to fit Mom’s growing belly, so we can effectively treat their back and pelvis while relaxing lying face down.  This allows us to utilize the Webster Technique, a chiropractic technique developed to check and align the pelvis as it changes to provide room for the growing baby.  The Webster Technique is a gentle, noninvasive, manual technique that properly aligns a woman’s pelvis through gentle pelvic adjustments and assessment of the round ligaments (ligaments that attach the uterus to the internal pelvic wall).  As the pelvis expands and hormones loosen expanding ligaments, it is important that women are regularly checked for pelvis misalignment and muscle tension.  Stress in this area not only creates physical symptoms for Mom but also affects the baby’s environment.  Having a well-aligned pelvis free of stress and strain provides the best environment for baby, so he or she may reach their most optimal position in utero.  As it is not in our scope of practice to turn babies, by removing stress surrounding the baby created by muscle tension or a poorly aligned pelvis, the baby is able to adjust to their most optimal position on their own!  


When trying to become pregnant or throughout pregnancy, chiropractic care should be provided by a Doctor of Chiropractic educated in treatment of prenatal and postnatal care.  Not only is the manual therapy provided safely and effectively but we can also offer emotional support, answering questions and providing guidance so you are able to make informed decisions you are comfortable with.  By specializing in treatment of pregnant women as well as having our own personal experience, we’ve created a network of providers so that we can offer you the support you need.  


At Core Therapies we strive to create a practice filled with support for all stages of pregnancy, providers who specialize in prenatal and postnatal chiropractic care, massage, bodywork and breathwork, acupuncture, and functional nutrition.  If you have any questions about how we can help you throughout your pregnancy please let us know!

 

 

 

Unleash your “Inner Kid”

By Dr. Laura DeCesaris

August 2016

As August begins and we all continue to enjoy summer in its full swing, I’ve been asking a lot of people about their favorite summer activities and how they are taking time to enjoy themselves on the beautiful days we have been having.  Whether it’s traveling to the beach or mountains, hanging by the pool or staying cool inside with a game or book, many of us fall into our “weekday” and “weekend” routines during the summer.  For many adults, this revolves around taking the kids to various activities and keeping them busy.  Something I have been hearing a lot from my adult patients is a desire to have some time to “play outside like their kids” or just to “be a kid again” in general - because that common summer image of kids playing in sand or jumping in the waves at the beach is something that is appealing to many of us as adults, too!  It’s easy to get caught up with social obligations and responsibilities in the summer (even though these are often fun), and we often push aside small enjoyments to make room for more engagements and responsibilities.  So as we head into the second half of summer, here are some ideas on how to break out your “inner kid” and improve your health and happiness:

Find a swing.  There’s a reason swings are used as tools for various physical therapy professions.  Swinging activates our proprioception system (think physical balance combined with movement and navigation), and also promotes sensory integration.  Swinging can also be helpful for those of us that have just been overstimulated all day, whether that’s due to commuting in traffic, being in crowds, carpooling, etc.

Start coloring.  “Adult” coloring books have become quite popular over the past year or so, and have consistently been some of the top sellers on amazon.com.  Coloring can reduce stress and may even help with emotional processing in general.  Don’t limit yourself to adult versions and have fun with it, with or without your kids!

Make something - anything!  Arts and crafts classes, racetracks for toy cars, pictures that get put on the fridge…think about all of the things kids “make” on a daily basis.  When did that stop for some of us as adults? Pick up an old hobby or grab a new one, take a community class, add some “art” to your cooking (even if it turns out badly).  Studies have found it’s not how “perfect” our creations are that is beneficial for health and happiness, but just the act of making something that can activate biochemical processes in our bodies that result in calming of the nervous system and release of “happy” hormones.

Give yourself the gift of doing nothing. Even if it’s just for 5 minutes, push aside the internal nagging about what you “should” be doing.  Instead, go lay under a tree, on your bed, on a porch swing, wherever - and let your mind wander.  Get lost in some random, undirected thought process.  In the long run, short spurts of “daydreaming” can enhance creativity and problem solving, as well as help us sync together cognitive and emotional integration that we need to stay grounded and emotionally healthy.

Climb a tree.  Humans have been doing it for a long, long time.  Reap both the relaxation benefits of literally getting in touch with nature as well as the proprioceptive benefits (just like the swing!).  If you’re not a “nature person,” there are elements of more formal workouts that involve climbing, such as MovNat and Parkour (and even some CrossFit workouts).

Hug more.  Somewhere along the line as we grow up, we stop hugging everyone and everything.  Actual contact from people we trust can cause all of our “happy hormones” to begin a cascade that can actually last for an entire day.  Cortisol, our stress hormone, drops as well as our blood pressure, and our immune system gets an extra boost.  Why do you think so many of us “need a hug” when we’re not feeling great, from an illness, stress, or otherwise?  It’s easy in today’s over-sterilized world to settle for a wave or a brief handshake, but I challenge you to take a day and hug people as a greeting.  See if it doesn’t change your or someone else’s day for the better.


 

Are you sure you are dealing with Tendinitis?

By Dr. Matthew McGowan

July 2016


The summer season is now in full swing and I am sure many of you out there are currently dealing with some sort of nagging pain left over from spring activity that you assume is Tendinitis.  The term Tendinitis may be one of the most overused words in the medical field, and unfortunately the failure to distinguish it from it's not so similar cousin Tendinosis has kept many people from becoming truly pain free.  The distinction between the two can be simply understood if you break down the words themselves.  The “-itis” in Tendinitis means an inflammation or irritation of said tissue.  The “-osis” in Tendinosis refers to a breakdown of tissue at a cellular level due to chronic injury or stress.  There is an absence of chronic inflammation in this condition; however the tendon cannot function properly in this state.  

All this is well and good, but how do you know which one you have?  Well the easiest way to figure it out is to see how the pain is affected by usage.

When you go to work out does the pain get worse the longer you work out, or does it improve?

That’s it, it can be that simple,.  If you work out and the pain continues to stay the same or worsen, you have an inflammatory condition, you have Tendinitis.  If the pain eases up as you work out or exercise, you have Tendinosis.    

The biggest problem with not being clear on what type of tendon injury you have is that the treatments differ greatly.  So now that you know what you may be dealing with, let’s be sure your treatment is correct

Treatment for Tendinitis generally involves:  Rest, ice, light stretching, and stopping of activity that causes the pain until the pain is resolved.  After the initial pain level starts to drop, you can begin to have A.R.T. (Active Release Techniques) performed on the tissue.

Treatment for Tendonosis generally involves:  Muscle lengthening with time under tension.  This includes A.R.T. (Active Release Techniques) and eccentric lengthening.  This is not a condition that resolves through traditional stretching; you need exercises given to you by your practitioner that specifically target the injured muscle to spend time under tension during the eccentric phase of the exercise.   The eccentric phase of an exercise is when the muscle contraction fights to slowly return the weight to its starting position.  For example in a bicep curl, it would be the tension placed upon the bicep to not allow the weight to just freefall back to the starting position.  

If you should have any questions regarding this concept, or need help in figuring out the proper plan for your recovery please ask  your provider.  We have seen this simple differentiation help people recover quite quickly from chronic issues once they realize that their recovery efforts may not have matched the problem.


 


Still Getting to Know My Own Body

By Dr. Melissa Sonners

June 2016

As I approach maternity leave with our third child, you would think I’d have this whole pregnancy thing down to a system and know exactly how my body reacts! Truth is, I have been shocked by some of the ways my body has responded this time around and am doing my best to just “go with it.”

Luckily, I do feel I have been blessed with healthy pregnancies for the most part.  My energy is good, my appetite and “cravings” are pretty normal and healthy with room for the occasional splurge because to me life is no fun without those allowances! But, still, third time in I still constantly remind myself that it is normal for my body to need to slow down when my head is telling me to “go, go, go.”   I often tell patients that our bodies absolutely change as we age and the key to staying healthy and feeling  great is to get to know your new body and what it is asking for.  I have needed to embrace my own advice while getting to know my “new body” during this pregnancy and adjust my plan for the day accordingly.  If I fold and put away laundry, I know I won’t have the physical stamina to run around outside with the kids so we do cuddles on the couch and watch a tv show or I take them to a small park where I can sit on a bench and see them both.  Also, having a physically demanding job, I know I need to take it easy before seeing patients rather than running around getting as much done as I can.

Things in my body also seemed to shift a lot earlier in this pregnancy.  My joints have felt looser than during the other two pregnancies and I have had to take extra special care of myself in order to feel good enough to chase after our very active boys.  My weekly adjustments, yoga, monthly acupuncture with Katrina  and monthly massage with Megan have helped me stay on top of my ever changing body and feeling as good as possible throughout.

And still, despite my best efforts to stay healthy, my immune system took a major hit this winter which was really difficult to process.  All I could eventually do was just go with it, remind myself that a part of being healthy is getting sick and letting your body rest (as much as possible) and that I would get back on track when I felt better.  My biggest lesson learned through this was how fortunate I am for my health.  I know many struggle with chronic illnesses, chronic pain, cancers, etc., and feel sick everyday.   I give them major kudos for staying positive.  Everything felt like a struggle when I didn’t feel well for so long.  

So now, as I mentally prepare for our third delivery I remind myself that just because I have done it twice before doesn’t mean I have any idea how this third one will go and I have to just embrace it for what it is, do what I can to have the best birth possible for me and my baby, and to be okay with the outcome no matter what, knowing I did the best I could.  


 


May is Better Hearing & Speech Month!

By Emily Glynn, M.A., CCC-SLP


Every May, millions of people celebrate Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM). It is during this time each year when we raise awareness about hearing and communication disorders and the importance of early treatment by certified professionals such as Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists. Better Hearing & Speech Month was founded in 1927 by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). This year, ASHA’s theme of Better Hearing & Speech Month is “Communication Takes Care.”


Communication is the building block to successful learning, development, social interactions, and relationships with others. Communication begins in infancy as a child uses its senses to interpret information from others around them. Even before the time a child speaks, a baby’s brain can already distinguish between sound patterns that are important to focus on versus sound patterns that are not.


During a child’s first year, two areas of the brain are closely connected and related to speech. Broca’s area is responsible for motor control of speech which allows a child to form meaningful words. Wernicke’s area is an important processing center for speech comprehension. When a child’s speech centers and motor skills become strong during early development, they will then have the ability to produce their first word.


According to ASHA, Speech and Language disorders are among the most common conditions in children and recent studies have shown that these disorders are on the rise in the United States. Communication disorders that are untreated can lead to difficulties with reading, writing, learning, academic achievement, as well as social skills. Early detection and treatment of communication difficulties is imperative for a child’s success and overall well-being.


It is always helpful to know general guidelines for children’s development. However, it is important to understand that every child is different in their trajectory of Speech-Language development. There is variation on the rate and how each child develops. To help you monitor your child’s speech and language development, I have compiled the general communication milestone chart below for your reference.


To celebrate Better Hearing & Speech Month, I will be providing complimentary screenings to children ages three and older whose dominant language is English during the month of May at our Florham Park location. For additional information and/or to schedule a screening appointment, please contact our office at (973) 240-7251.


Early Childhood Speech-Language Milestone Chart


Birth to 6 Months

  • Frequently coos and makes pleasurable sounds

  • Sometimes repeats the same sound

  • Uses a different cry to express various needs

  • Smiles when spoken to

  • Recognizes familiar people and objects

  • Localizes to sound by turning head and/or gazing eyes


7 to 12 Months

  • Understands “no”

  • Follows simple requests such as “come here” or “give me”

  • Understands and responds to own name

  • Recognizes words for common items

  • Uses a large variety of sounds in babbling (ex. /p/, /b/, /m/, etc.)

  • Produces a combination of sounds

  • Imitates some adult speech sounds and intonation patterns

  • Uses vocalizations rather than only crying to get attention

  • Begins to intentionally use speech

  • Begins to change babbling to jargon

  • Uses gestures and/or vocalizations to express wants

  • Sometimes plays games such as “pat-a-cake” or “peek-a-boo”

13 to 18 Months

  • Imitates individual words

  • Uses adult-like intonation patterns

  • Follows simple commands

  • Receptively identifies 1 to 3 body parts

  • Has an expressive vocabulary of 3 to 20 words

  • Frequently responds to songs or rhymes by vocalizing or trying to sing along

  • Greet and say goodbye to others

  • Anticipate familiar routines such as “snack time” or “bath time” when announced

  • Recognizes the moods of most speakers


19 to 24 Months

  • Uses words more frequently than jargon

  • Has an expressive vocabulary of 50 to 100 or more words

  • Begins to combine 2 words to communicate

  • Is approximately 25% to 50% intelligible to unfamiliar listeners

  • Asks and answers “what’s that?” questions

  • Imitates sounds around him/her during play such as sounds of cars or animals

  • Knows 5 body parts

  • Enjoys listening to stories

  • Labels familiar objects, toys, food items, etc.

  • Points to objects and pictures when named

  • Performs actions such as “jump”, “throw”, “run”, “swing”, etc. when asked

  • Enjoys playing with others


2 to 3 Years Old

  • Requests items by name

  • Identifies several body parts

  • Follows 2 to 3 step directions

  • Asks 1 to 2 word questions

  • Answers a variety of “wh” questions with more than a yes/no

  • Produces 2 to 4 word phrases

  • Has an expressive vocabulary of approximately 50 to 250 or more words

  • Says at least 2 new words each week

  • Consistently produces initial consonants of words

  • Uses some pronouns (I, you, me), possessive morphemes, and regular past tense verbs

  • Express that he/she needs help with personal needs such as washing hands, going to the bathroom, etc.

  • Able to identify an object from a group of 5 different objects when requested

  • Engages in make-believe play


3 to 4 Years Old

  • Follows 2 and 3-step directions

  • Understands object functions and opposites

  • Uses language to express emotion

  • Produces 4 to 5-word sentences

  • Has an 800 to 1,500 or more word expressive vocabulary

  • Speech productions are approximately 80% intelligible to an unfamiliar listener

  • Maintains a topic of conversation by taking turns and commenting appropriately on what the other person says

  • Is increasingly inventive in fantasy play

  • Names some colors

  • Consistently uses regular plurals, possessives, and simple past tense verbs

  • Uses some contractions, irregular plurals, future tense verbs, and conjunctions


4 to 5 Years Old

  • Imitatively counts to five

  • Is able to count to 10

  • Listens to short, simple stories and can answer questions about them

  • Uses adult-like grammar most of the time

  • Has an expressive vocabulary of approximately 900 to 2,000 or more words

  • Produces 4 to 8 word sentences

  • Answers complex two part questions

  • Asks for word definitions

  • Accurately tells about experiences at school, at friends’ homes, etc.


5 to 6 Years Old

  • Follows instructions given to a group

  • Asks “how” questions

  • Uses past tense, future tense, and conjunctions correctly

  • Sequentially names days of the week

  • Counts to 30

  • Continues to drastically increase expressive vocabulary

  • Exchanges information and asks questions

  • Produces detailed sentences

  • Accurately relays a story

  • Sings entire songs and recites nursery rhymes

  • Communicates easily with adults and other children

  • Uses appropriate grammar in most cases


Information to compile this developmental milestone list was taken from the Assessment in Speech-Language Pathology, A Resource Manual, Third Edition (2004) by Kenneth G. Shipley and Julie G. McAfee as well as the Receptive-Expressive Emergent Language Test-Third Edition (REEL-3) assessment measure.

 

 

What is Occupational Therapy...and when should you reach out to an OT?

by Dipa Patel OTR/L

April is OT Awareness Month!

The American Occupational Therapy Association identifies occupational therapy (OT) as “the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability.”

Occupational therapists work with a variety of age groups with a wide range of physical and psychosocial domains. An occupational therapist may work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, mental health centers, private clinics, home care, school systems, and early intervention systems. They can be instrumental to the rehabilitation team for an individual with physical disabilities such as stroke, spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, upper extremity injury, hip replacement, as well as other orthopedic conditions.  The occupational therapist assists with helping to regain function through individualized activities and adaptations to the environment of the home or workplace.  An occupational therapist in mental health helps to increase an individual’s ability to function independently while engaging meaningfully and productively in the community.  The occupational therapist provides client-centered treatment to help facilitate participation within the natural environment to promote success in roles an individual may develop, such as working, relationship development, managing a home, and managing medication.

A pediatric occupational therapist works with children with many developmental disabilities including Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Spina Bifida, Down Syndrome, and Attention-Deficit Disorder.   An occupational therapist may utilize various treatment approaches to help a child function optimally with their “occupation.” A child’s occupation consists of activities to help develop skills that will assist them in settings such as the school, home, and community-based programs for lifelong skill development.  When a child is not able to function at the age-appropriate level for skills such as fine motor, gross motor, language, academics, self-care, and social development, an occupational therapist may be sought for evaluation of the “whole child” to determine the need for services. The therapist may determine the underlying deficits that are affecting learning, attention, performance, social and behavioral skills. The deficits may include sensory processing skills, reflex integration, body awareness and motor planning difficulties, gross motor and fine motor coordination, postural control deficits, visual-motor or perceptual skills, oculomotor skills, and bilateral coordination skills.  The therapist would help strengthen the foundation of these underlying skills to help attainment of higher level skills.  An occupational therapist would be an integral part of the team working with the child, but also with the family/caregivers, other providers, and teachers to help with facilitating success. 

If you have further questions about what occupational therapy is or how a pediatric occupational therapist can benefit your child, please feel free to call the office or contact me at dipa@coretherapies.net.   

 

 

 

What’s Really Causing my Symptoms?

by Dr. Laura DeCesaris

March 2016

 

As we head into March and (hopefully) the spring season, I’m often asked by patients to help them figure out if their sinus problems, digestive problems, or headaches (amongst other things!) are due to seasonal allergies.  The question that follows is often “if it’s seasonal allergies like I’ve been told…why do I feel this way most of the year?”  Let’s look at a few different processes that might be causing the same symptoms in different people:

 

True seasonal allergies: 

  • The runny nose, watery or swollen eyes, sneezing as soon as you step outdoors…allergies to pollens, grasses, and trees typically cause symptoms immediately upon exposure.  Stay inside for a day with the windows shut and your symptoms don’t seem as severe? Likely a seasonal allergy. 
  • There are different ways to help your body deal with seasonal allergens - quercetin, nasal irrigation or sprays, reducing any foods that may worsen your symptoms, and changing clothes and sheets are often all helpful. 

 

Histamine Intolerance: 

  • Histamine intolerance is a condition that develops because your body cannot tolerate high levels of histamine.  Histamine is normally produced by the body in response to an allergen, but is also found in many foods we eat.  Rather than experiencing an immediate reaction (such as with a pollen allergy), histamine intolerance reactions build up over time.  Think of it as a pitcher of water: If the pitcher is full, even a small drop will make it overflow.  If the pitcher is half-full, it takes more water (aka histamine), for the water to overflow. 
  •  What are some common symptoms? Itching, hives, sinus swelling, nasal congestion, runny nose, headache, heartburn, brain fog, increased heart rate. As you can see, many of these symptoms resemble seasonal allergies or other common conditions, so histamine intolerance is often overlooked by healthcare practitioners. 
  • Histamine intolerance does have ties to food intake, so if you feel that your “sinus and allergy” symptoms definitely worsen with some kinds of foods, it’s worth looking into.  While you may not have found a pattern, your doctor can help you identify if this may be the case.
  •  Limiting intake of high-histamine foods while symptoms are present, as well as supplementation of things such as quercetin, black cumin seed oil, probiotics, and DAO are necessary for those with histamine intolerance.

 

Food sensitivities or food allergies:

  •  While sensitivities to foods can cause nasal congestion, there are almost always digestive and/or brain symptoms that accompany food sensitivities and food allergies.
  •  Symptoms such as congestion, increased mucus, stomach pain, or itching often come on within minutes to a few hours of having the offending food, and can last for 2-3 days.
  •  Symptoms such as brain fog, poor memory or concentration, or balance/coordination issues can be immediate, but may also be signs of longer-standing exposure to foods that one is sensitive to. Poor skin quality, hives, and itchiness may also show up within a few days or take several weeks to develop.
  • Testing for food sensitivities through Applied Kinesiology muscle testing or labs such as Cyrex labs can help zero in on offending foods. 
  •  Removal of the foods, along with some gastrointestinal support to ensure integrity of the gut lining, typically alleviates symptoms.   

 

If you have any questions or are trying to get to the root cause of your "allergies," feel f ree to call the office or reach out to me at DrLaura@coretherapies.net

 

 

Heart Month

By Dr. Meagan McGowan

February 2016 

The month of February is well known for shades of pink, displays of chocolate and red rosesExpressions of love have been retail establishments since the beginning of the New Year.   I am certainly one who enjoys the change in holiday décor, but the month of February has extra special meaning to our family.  February is Heart Awareness Month, a month that we hold near and dear to our hearts because of a baby boy named Hayden. 

Hayden, born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, emitted love and light from his beautiful eyes and infectious smile.  Unknowing of his road ahead he took on everyday, every challenge as the heart warrior he was.  The support he gathered, and still today the number of people that know of his amazing story, following his mother’s blog, leaves me speechless (her blog can be found at www.haydensheart.org).  Unlike his mother, who writes so beautifully, I find it difficult to express the effect that little boy had on me.  In the short time we had together, and for the happenstance that his mom chose me as his Chiropractor, I am forever thankful.

My family and I continue to support Hayden’s memory in many of our own ways.  We dedicated our son’s first birthday to Hayden and we talk about him often, especially when we stumble upon the shape of a heart in what would seem like the most obscure places, a rock on the sidewalk, the shape of a leaf, a cloud in the sky.  We believe that’s Hayden just saying hello!

Hayden’s Heart foundation was established to honor Hayden and to raise awareness of the diagnosis of Congenital Heart Defect (CHD).  Nearly 1 in every 100 children is born with a CHD.  Hayden’s Heart supports families in time of need and stands as a platform for people to become more educated on the diagnosis of CHD.  Hayden’s parents, Ady and Rob Dorsett, together with the support of family and friends have taken incredible measures to continually support families with their own heart warriors.  Through their determination to make a difference and to honor Hayden they are able to sustain a foundation funded only by donations that can bring a smile to the face of a child in need.  Care packages are frequently delivered to the Cardiac Unit at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (where Hayden spent a good deal of his time).  Grieving mothers are welcomed to a retreat where they can be in the company of and receive support from other Heart Moms.  “Aden and Anais,” an amazing product line for children, has dedicated a swaddle to Hayden, produced with his footprints. It is easily one of my favorite gifts for every new mom!  The list of events and ways you can support can all be found at www.haydensheart.org

Here at Core Therapies we are going to honor Hayden and his family by displaying our thoughts of how to spread love throughout the month of February.  We encourage each of you to help spread your love with us.  We will be writing down our intentions on white hearts complete with Hayden’s footprints displayed for all to see. For a donation of your choice, we would be honored if you let us display a white heart that you fill out expressing how you will spread love to others.  We hope that upon entering Core Therapies, seeing all the white hearts displayed brings you a feeling of joy, like thinking of Hayden does for my family and me. 

With love, Happy February!

 

 

UNCLE… I give up!   (Or, Dr. Jason goes down hard!)

By Dr. Jason Sonners

January 2016

 

Most of you reading this know that I take wellness and prevention very seriously.  I try to stay on the forefront of nutrition both in terms of proper foods as well as potential supplementation with vitamins. I stay current with exercise trends and use this knowledge to keep myself in shape and keep my family active.  I also study as much as I can about stress control and management.   The more we learn about this, the more we see that stress mismanagement is likely the cause of many, if not all, of our chronic diseases.  In all three areas – nutrition, exercise and stress management - I share best practices with all of you in the hopes that you too begin to take wellness and prevention seriously.   I am confident in saying that when we nourish ourselves properly, move our bodies frequently and manage our stress appropriately, we are able to express our true health.

So why, in November, was I down for the count with a nasty virus?  I got hit pretty hard and it came out of nowhere.  I’d been feeling really good prior to that.  I don’t get sick often and don’t like when I do (who does?).   So while lying in bed feeling absolutely miserable, I started thinking about what I could have done to prevent this.

I’d been eating pretty well in the weeks leading up to this episode.  Since I’d been eating mostly at home where Dr. Melissa keeps me well nourished, I don’t think my diet was the culprit.  I’d been working out 4+ days a week for months leading up to getting sick so, again, I don’t think it was for lack of movement.

But when I assessed my stress levels, they were way above average and my usual care plan for stress management had been completely deficient!  When I’m on top of my game, I have chiropractic adjustments twice a month, a monthly session with “Massage Megan” and acupuncture with Katrina every 6-8 weeks.  But I’d let things slip and with long working hours (my choice…I love my work) and long nights with a three year old who hasn’t been sleeping through the night (not my choice), stress was taking a toll.

I always tell patients not to let the times you need it the most, be the times you get it the least.  Make time for things that help you recover, remain balanced and maintain your health. If you do that, you’ll be fine and if you don’t, well, like what happened to me, it will catch up to you. 

Obviously getting sick is a small episode in the bigger picture. Our overall health is the cumulative result of a lifetime of choices.  It is what we do on a regular basis that determines our health, not what we do once in awhile.  So, this was just a tough reminder for me to get my act together and start taking better care of myself.  If you can learn from my example, I will have done my job and gotten all of us off on the right foot as we begin the new year.

 

 

Meat makes its way back into the headlines!

Dr. Jason Sonners

December 2015

As I am sure you have heard, the World Health Organization recently classified processed meats as Class 1 (cancer causing) carcinogens, and is warning people to consume less of these products as well as recommending the consumption of less red meat.  Naturally I have had many patients ask me about this, so I decided to make it this month’s blog post.

These conclusions were reached by conducting an analysis of other studies over time. The overall result of the analysis found a RELATIVE increase in risk of 18% in colorectal cancers (cancers of the large intestine) for those consuming roughly 50 grams of processed meat per day (about 4 slices of bacon).  Let’s take this piece by piece.

1.  This was a study about processed meats, specifically ham, sausage, bologna, hot dogs, etc.  Under any circustances, we should be avoiding these meat products or certainly limiting them.  They are the least healthy of the meat group products.

2.  If we choose to consume processed meats, it is important to select grass fed, pasture raised, hormone free, antibiotic free, nitrate free, preservative free versions of these foods.  Of course these foods were not part of the study data which included only agri-grown, corn and soy fed, hormone and antibiotic laden meat products.  As we have discussed in prior posts, these types of meat products are full of inflammatory chemicals known to make us ill and certainly worthy of the carcinogen label.

3.  The risk is still relative.  In an article I read, Jonathan Schoenfeld, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School's Department of Radiation Oncology, discussed relative risk.  He stated that if you had a 10% risk of colon cancer in your life, and then ate your 50 grams/day of processed meats, the risk would increase to 11.8%.  Not an incredible amount of change...and that is while still making the poorer meat choices used in the studies, not trying to find healthier sources of these foods as discussed above.

At the end of the World Health Organization paper, it states that red meat in general may also cause cancer.  To this I say again:  Where is the study to show that grass fed, pasture raised, active, healthy and hormone/antibiotic free meat chock full of healthy protein and Omega 3 (anti-inflammatory fatty acids) is actually very good for us and does not do the same damage as meat from the far more common corn and soy fed, antibiotic/hormone given, fat, sedentary and unhealthy animals laden with OMEGA 6 (highly inflammatory fatty acids)?

The organization’s take-home message: By eating a healthy diet, staying a healthy weight and being active, it estimates that half of colorectal cancers could be prevented. Obviously, to this statement, I would have to agree.  

Bottom line:

  • Eat less processed food…PERIOD!
  • Eat less sugar!
  • Eat more organic vegetables! (wash them please)
  • Choose healthy sources of meat!
  • Move your body every day!

 

 

Practicing Gratitude

By Dr. Matt McGowan

November 2015


This time of year marks the beginning of a time in our calendar that can tend to get quite busy.  These times are often filled with holidays, family, and beautiful weather.  However when people reflect on this time of year they start to think of negative images such as traffic, busy schedules, and bills.  It is these negative images and thoughts that can have a major impact on not only our health but our enjoyment of what should be a wonderful time of year for us all. 

Lately I had noticed myself submerged in more of a stressful state than normal.  Constant “To-Do Lists” were flowing through my mind on a daily basis.  Each night going to bed I could not help but think of what I could do the next day to plow through these tasks in preparation for the following day.  Before I knew it, three weeks had passed and it had seemed like three days.  I really didn’t like feeling this way; I felt like I was living in the cliché that people always refer to as, “where does the time go?”  I wondered what had changed and why I had gotten into such a rut.  Then I remembered an article I had read some time ago on practicing gratitude.  The article was written by Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.

The idea behind the article was to figure out what contributes to our happiness and how much of it can we control?  In the article entitled “Expressing Gratitude,” Dr. Sonja argues that there are three overall components that make up our total level of happiness.  The first 50% is the basic level of happiness that you are innately born with.  The next 10% is your current life circumstances.  It is the final 40% that she argues is the most important, which is “Intentional Activity.”  The reason why it is so important is the simple fact that we can control it completely.  Dr. Sonja believes that the key to controlling this 40% is by exercising gratitude.

How do you express gratitude?  Well this can be different for each individual.  It can be thanking people that are important to you in your life, it can be through religion, it can be simply reflecting on the small little moments in life that make you happy.  These can be the type of moments that fly right by you without any notice when you are stuck in a negative frame of mind.  Gratitude does not have to be verbally expressed out loud; it can simply be a reflection or a thought. 

There are thousands of exercises out there to work to improve your level of gratitude, think of it as an exercise.  You must practice this to become good at it.  I chose to simply replace my “to do list thoughts” with a positive reflection of my day.  Just that simple thing alone made my next few days feel like they were three hours longer.  With just this small change alone, I began to notice so many more details throughout my day whether it be feeling the nice weather, observing other people being polite to one another out in public, or even catching green lights when in a hurry.  These all may seem like simple things, but if you add them all up and feel more productive at the end of a long day, it is absolutely worth it.

 

I hope we can all work to better ourselves and improve our frame of mind going into this last part of the year.  You can read Dr. Sonja's article at http://www.gratefulness.org/resource/expressing-gratitude.

 

 

Boosting your Immune System

By Dr. Laura DeCesaris

October 2015

 

Many of us experience firsthand the colds, flus, and other illnesses that too often accompany the shift towards the cooler seasons.  There are many reasons why this is the case.  Kids are off to school and daycare, where they are exposed to a variety of different “bugs."  For adults, there is a change in schedule involving soccer and football games, school drop-offs, a return to a regular work schedule, and more.  Add in the stress that accompanies various holidays and the change in weather and it’s no wonder we tend to “get sick” more often this time of year.  The good news? There’s a lot you can do to start building your immune system now to help prep you for the cooler months.  Here’s a list of my favorites:

 

1.  Elderberry: Great for both kids and adults due to its mild flavor and general lack of side effects.  Elderberry is loaded with flavinoids (such as quercetin), which are compounds that destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect our cells.  Additionally, this herb also helps regulate our overall immune response, so using it in the absence of a cold virus is still beneficial.  Try Umcka brand, sold at most health food stores.

 

2.  Fire Cider:  This “tonic” has been used for many years in the alternative health field.  The apple cider vinegar-based tonic contains extracts of ginger, turmeric, lemon, garlic, onion, cayenne, parsley, horseradish root, and other compounds which together help boost metabolism and the immune system.  If you’re feeling congested, 1 teaspoon of fire cider will certainly help clear out the sinuses!  Look for a free recipe near the front desk at Core.  Don’t have time to make it yourself? We hope to have some fire cider made by Dr. Laura available by mid-October here in the office. 

 

3.  Vitamin D:  As the sunlight of summer starts to decrease and we spend more time indoors, we lose the opportunity to make the vitamin D that we were able to make during the summer.  Vitamin D is a potent immune regulator and is also important for our mental health and well-being.  Speak with one of the doctors about dosing for you and your kids!

 

4.  Warming herbs and spices: There’s a reason that so many traditional fall recipes call for earthy spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, etc.  These warming, grounding herbs help raise the body temperature to fight infections associated with cooler weather.  It helps that they taste great!  Use them liberally throughout the next few months. 

 

5.  Adrenal support: For those of you who are dealing with higher amounts of stress, making sure your adrenal glands have adequate support is also of tantamount importance in preventing illness.  When our stress response system gets a little “burnt out,” we become much more susceptible to developing colds and other illnesses.  Parents, I’m sure many of you have experienced your son or daughter coming home after college exams, only to get sick for a few days. There are many different ways to help support this system.  Some general ways include limiting sugar and processed foods, including adequate healthy fats and protein in the diet, getting enough sleep, and not over-exercising.  Sometimes, you’d be better off sleeping for an extra hour than catching that 5:30 AM spin class.  Nutritionally, herbs such as rehmannia, rhodiola, ashwaganda, and others can help support these glands; however, it’s best to speak with one of the doctors regarding supplementing for adrenal support.

 

And, of course, regular adjustments, cranial and sinus work also help keep the body performing at its peak during this seasonal transition.  As Dr. Meagan mentioned in her September post, the state of balance in the body achieved by a chiropractic adjustment is central to how we handle stress, including illness!

 

 

The Stress of Transition for Kids

by Dr. Meagan McGowan

September 2015

 

Pencils. Check

Folders. Check.

Chiropractic adjustment scheduled?  Check!

 

Transitioning from the relaxed days of summer into a new school year comprised of routine, schedules, responsibility, and due dates can be a great form of stress for kids.  Because kids do not come right out and say, “this is stressing me out!” we as parents or providers need to recognize that stress can show in many forms.

 

As a Doctor of Chiropractic, I often discuss with patients that the nature of stress can be physical, chemical, or psychological/emotional.  Kids are no exception.  When treating children, it is very important that they learn about their own health.  Helping them learn body awareness allows them to communicate and better advocate for themselves, recognizing when their body is going through a stressful state.  During his or her adjustment, I often discuss the topic of stress in language that a child will understand relating to how they are feeling that day.  For example, most children find the topic of going to the bathroom funny or silly to talk about.  After explaining how important going to the bathroom is and the amazing way our body works, they understand that not going to the bathroom (having a bowel movement) is not good for them.  Note parents, this is an example of great physical stress for your child, which begins a snowball effect of other stressors in other systems.  

 

How does this relate to the start of a new school year?  Well, as I mentioned, stress shows up in many ways.  The transition is the main form of stress and without proper working systems, your child may internalize this stress and have it show up in a variety of fashions, i.e. the underlying cause of poor digestion, including a change in bathroom habits around the start of school is generally labeled a nervous stomach.  This is a blunt example of internalization of stress.  A shift in sleep, or the lack there of, surrounding the start of school may be due to chemical or emotional stress.  The chemical stress derives from the release of stress hormones affecting our internal clocks and our ability to relax.   The emotional stress can stem from your child’s fear of the unknown or unfamiliar.  Walking into a brand new school or classroom, engaging with a new teacher or sitting next to an unfamiliar face can cause a stress reaction within milliseconds. 

 

In order for anyone, especially a child to counteract such an immediate reaction, their nervous system (primary operator of the body) must have clear communication to the rest of the body.  This is the main goal of a chiropractic adjustment; removing interference so the brain and spinal cord may communicate clearly to the rest of the body, sending and accepting messages efficiently, creating balance.  It is only when we are in a state of balance that we can best handle stress.

 

How can you help your child combat stress of transition, unfamiliarity, and the “what if’s?”  Listen to your child and what their body is telling you.  Every day children are trying to decipher their world and immediate environment, how they feel and how to appropriately react.  This is a learned behavior.  In order to feel comfortable within their surroundings, they first have to feel comfortable within their own skin.  If their body is overwhelmed with stress, in a state of imbalance, you can help with that.  First recognize what your child may be trying to express without necessarily using their words, then pause and ask yourself why is this happening, are their actions actually reactions to internalized stress.  Try and talk to them by asking questions.  This will help them better realize the root cause of their stress, rather than chasing symptoms or emotions.  By asking questions, you show a willingness to help and understand, and create a calming affect, already minimizing their stress.  This approach helps keep the child practicing self-awareness, learning to understand why their body reacts the way it does and what can be done about it.

 

The start of a new school year is an example of a major transition, but I encourage you to be aware of the smaller transitions that happen throughout the year, as often as every day.  Returning from vacation or holiday break, from the weekend to a Monday morning, from the activity of an afternoon to the wind down of an evening, each of these requires your body to properly react.  Getting regularly adjusted is a great way to ensure your body remains balanced and is best able to handle stress. 

 

Remember, kids experience stress too.  Get them adjusted!

 

 What comes next?

August 2015

By Dr. Melissa Sonners

 

I have been thoroughly enjoying the summer and have loved taking a bit of a step back from writing, listening to webinars and playing with new recipes.  As we often do, Jason and I set an “intention” for the season.  Typically it’s something to do with focusing on personal growth, fitness, organization, etc.  This summer our intention has been to thoroughly enjoy the summer and play more.   Don’t get me wrong, we are still - as always - taking care of our work and life responsibilities, however we have definitely made it a point to make time for our family to be outside together. 

 

But ironically, I am looking forward to getting back to my typical routine in the fall.  Honestly, I just function better that way.  I’ll get back to clean eating, recipe searching, posting online, and listening to inspirational and educational audios.  I also want to incorporate this playful summer feeling into that routine.  I plan on drinking my morning coffee on our back deck as long as it’s light and warm enough early in the mornings to enjoy it and watching the fireflies in our backyard at night with the boys, even if for just a few minutes before bed time.

 

I’d love to hear how you and your families plan to transition to Fall.  Perhaps we can talk about it and share ideas at one of my favorite events of the year:  the annual Core Therapies gluten and dairy free BBQ.  This year we’ll be celebrating Core Therapies’ 10 year anniversary so it’s going to be BIG!! This event is a great place to come enjoy healthy food, mingle with like-minded people and PLAY!  Mark your calendars for Saturday September 26th (time TBA) and tell your friends.  We would love to meet them.

 

Enjoy the rest of your summer! 

 

 

My Journey to Wellness and a Career in Holistic Healthcare

July 2015

By Lisa Mack of Lisa’s Thermography and Wellness

 

Starting out life with a heart condition was not easy.  As a young girl, I was always very active. Exercising energized me, dance was my passion!  I tried to eat all the best foods to stay as healthy as I could, but at the age of 24 my heart condition started to catch up with me and I noticed a slight change in my health.  I was having some difficulty when teaching dance, becoming more winded than normal.

 

My cardiologist didn’t find anything wrong, but a year later, while engaged to be married, I experienced heart attack symptoms. After a cardiac catheterization, my doctor sent me to Columbia Presbyterian hospital where, luckily, there was an amazing surgeon who could perform open heart surgery on me. While recovering in the hospital, a nurse whispered that a year earlier she had lost her daughter to the same heart. I was blessed to be alive.

 

The possibility of having children, my doctor said, was unlikely, but I was determined.  I was given a stress test to see if my body could handle pregnancy, and the results were so positive that he said, “If you can do that, you can have kids!” Three years later, my husband and I had our first child. The following year, doctors found a hole in my left lung. Bacteria from my heart disease had collected in the lung. The medication I was given had not worked and I was told to avoid pregnancy because of the risk of birth defects from the medicine.  As I had before, I defied the odds and had two more healthy children.

 

Doctors believe that my exercise and nutritional routine is what has kept me alive. I had always believed that and enrolled at Wellness Simplified to become a Holistic Wellness Counselor. I wanted to work with clients by looking at each person as a “whole,” and assist them as they bring balance back into their lives by managing diet, supplements and lifestyle.

 

In 2012, I took my passion for wellness further and became a Certified Thermographic Technician and opened my own lab. Lisa’s Thermography and Wellness, with several locations throughout New Jersey and New York, provides nutritional counseling and medical Thermography, a radiation-free state-of-the-art screening procedure that captures heat images using a highly sensitive infrared camera to map the body’s temperature. It is FDA cleared, uses absolutely zero radiation, is non-invasive and provides a reliable means of graphically mapping and displaying the skin’s surface temperature.  By detecting subtle variations in blood vessel activity, our specially trained interpreting doctors can detect thermal heat patterns that could suggest a pre-disease state.

 

Thermography “sees” your body functioning and changing in “real time,” and can be used for early detection and disease prevention. Whereas a mammography looks for the tumor after it has formed a density, thermography looks for the physiology that feeds the tumor. There is also no compression or risk of damage to implants or underlying breast tissue. Thermography can be used for full body screening, for both men and women, for early detection and differential analysis of abnormal vascular activity, inflammation and pain.

 

With thermography results in hand, we can focus on important healing factors like diet, detoxification, hormone balancing and stress reduction to reduce inflammation.  I know from my own history just how impactful changes in these areas can be.  I’m fortunate to be spending my days  sharing the benefits of holistic wellness and thermography with men and women on the path to good health.

 

 

Don’t be another “wounded” weekend warrior!

May 2015

by Dr. Matt McGowan, D.C.

If you fit into the large majority of us whose activity levels have significantly declined over the dark and cold winter months, then this post is for you. It is far too common to hear people chatting at the gym or on a ball field about the most recent body part they “tweaked.” Believe it or not, your road to re-entry into the world of sport and exercise does not have to be a bumpy one filled with random pulls, strains, or injuries.

Instead of beating ourselves up over what we could have or should have done during the spring, let’s focus on what we can do to prepare ourselves for the coming summer months. Summer is a prime time for exercise and activity. Whether you are looking forward to returning to running, biking, swimming, golfing, or the summer softball season, there are ways you can prepare.

Here’s my late spring/early summer routine and the types of preparation I recommend to patients every day:

1. Mentally Prepare: Begin to think about what activities you are most interested in doing. Take these activities and honestly think about what may be required to perform them.

For example:
If I am going to start golfing twice a week, I’d better find ways to loosen my lower back.

If I am going to start tennis lessons, I need to get my shoulders and neck as mobile as possible.

2. Develop a Plan: Don’t dive right into the deep end. When that first warm day comes, we sprint out of the door and don’t come back until we have hobbled through 8 miles of pain and torture. Take your time, set up a plan, work sensibly toward a goal. This applies to all sports and recreational activities. If softball leagues are your thing, then spend a few nights a week leading up to the start of the season making 25 tosses or jogging base paths and you, hopefully, won’t be getting treatment for a pulled muscle or sore joint in week two!

3. Stretch/Foam Roll: The most valuable thing you can do right now is to start a stretching routine today. Begin with any muscles you know are tight. Be sure to include any muscles you know you will be using for your chosen activity. If you feel like you don’t know what to do, ask us. Get a foam roller or soft tissue device. Either can be influential in expanding your flexibility levels.

4. Have Fun: Get out there and enjoy yourself. Make sure to address any issues that arise promptly so they don’t turn into major problems.

In summary, keep your body moving as well as possible, get adjusted periodically, and don’t overdo it. You’ll be healthy and fit…overall a “happy” weekend warrior!

 

 

Have Fun in the Sun, but…

May 2015

by Dr. Melissa Sonners

When did we begin to fear the sun? The sun is an essential part of our lives. If you need to know how much of an effect the sun has on our health and our emotions, ask anyone in upstate New York around April when they are on their 6th straight month of cloudy skies!

Jason and I have never been a family to liberally apply sunscreen. When I head outside with the boys to play, we either go outbefore 10 or after 4 when the sun isn’t as intense, or if we are going out midday we go out in shorter spurts. If we are out for an extended period of time during strong sun, I put hats or long sleeve shirts on them, or I apply sunscreen after we have been out for awhile. I am very picky about which sunscreens I use (more on that later). Vitamin D is an essential nutrient and sunshine is our main source. The Center for Disease Control said in 2012 that 1 in 4 people are deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for healthy bones, helps enhance our immune system, helps decrease the length and severity of the common cold, can help prevent multiple sclerosis, is vital for brain health and probably does much more that we aren’t even aware of yet. When we expose ourselves to sunshine, UVB rays interact with cholesterol in our skin, and our liver and kidneys convert everything over to Vitamin D.

When we get too much sun, the pigment in our skin begins to change and this is our indication that it’s time to get out of the sun. Isn’t the body brilliant?!

So what happens when we wear sunscreen? UVB rays are blocked (preventing sunburn) and vitamin D is never fully created or absorbed. The problem is that many sunscreens do not block UVA rays so they give a false sense of security and we become overexposed to damaging UVA rays. UVA rays were once thought to not be a threat, but recent research is showing that UVA rays damage skin cells called keritonocytesin, the basal layer of the epidermis where most skin cancers occur.

What about broad spectrum or full spectrum sunscreens? Most still allow some UVA rays through and, again, give us a false sense of security since our skin’s pigment doesn’t change, telling us to get out of the sun. And, even worse than that, most contain known carcinogens. Vitamin A which is in at least 25% of sunscreens –listed as retinylpalmitate or retinol- has been found to speed the development of tumors and lesions when applied to skin in the presence of sunlight.

Even the FDA has said that their available clinical studies “do not demonstrate that even broad spectrum products with SPF greater than 15 alone reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.” The International Agency for Research on Cancer advises that clothing, hats and shade should be used as primary barriers to UV radiation. They go on to say that “sunscreens should not be the first choice for skin cancer prevention and should not be used as the sole agent for protection against the sun.”

Bottom line: Whenever possible, avoid the sun between the hours of 10am and 4pm when UVA and UVB rays are the strongest.

Some exposure to sun is important for our health. If you are going to be out between 10 and 4, cover up as much as possible. Also apply a sunscreen that lists zinc and titanium as the main ingredients and doesn’t contain vitamin A (retinylpalmitate/retinol).

If you want to know how healthy or toxic your current sunscreen is, check out www.ewg.org and enter your sunscreen’s name into their Skin Deep database. This website is a great resource for learning which best companies are best for sunscreens, cleaning supplies, meat and much more.

Enjoy the sunshine!

Stuck in a rut? Assess why...

May 2015

by Dr. Laura DeCesaris, DC, MSACN

As spring has (finally) arrived, I’m hearing a lot of comments about how people “need to get out of the rut” that they have been experiencing due to a long, cold winter. For many of us, it’s hard to stick to our exercise routines and health goals when it’s cold and gray, or during that “holiday season” that seems to last right up until, well, now! For others, weather and holidays have no effect on their lifestyle and they breeze right through without any speed bumps in their routines.

We have a tendency to think that taking care of ourselves is a mental game, and that with the right attitude, our ability to get those physical results we are looking for will follow our mindset. If I have a cup of ice cream one night, is it because I’m “not committed enough”? Conversely, if I’m a healthy, fit individual and see those are aren’t, is it really a matter of me having the willpower to avoid the vending machine while others cannot? Are these thought processes fair? Should eating healthier get easier or harder with time? What about working out? Is the first week the hardest or is staying on track four months later more difficult? Is it really all in our heads?

Why is it seemingly easier for some individuals to stick to a plan and achieve their health and wellness goals, while it’s an ongoing challenge for others? Sure, part of it is mental; I’m not trying to dispute that. Jobs, families, kids, commutes - all of these things take a toll on us mentally and physically (in both positive and negative ways). But what a lot of us tend to forget, overlook, or just be unaware of is the connection between thought processes and the physiological effects that our thoughts can set into motion. Having a piece of chocolate on a stressful afternoon probably won’t have much of a long-term impact on the brain and body, but repeating this pattern daily can certainly induce some physiological changes. Fo example, impaired insulin sensitivity, poor blood sugar regulation, impaired adrenal function, and brain chemistry alterations are all consequences of handling daily stress with sugar instead of healthier methods. These physiological changes, in turn, then affect our mental health and the way we handle normal stressors. Hitting that “sugar crash” an hour or so after downing an entire chocolate bar will make most of us pretty cranky when we still have a few hours of work left to get through. And as Snickers commercials have taught us, if we’re grumpy, we need to grab that chocolate bar to become ourselves again. See the cycle? It’s comparable to being stuck in a traffic circle and continually missing your exit.

Much like some infants develop a dependence on a certain blanket when upset or scared, we as adults may turn to sugary food, become short-fused or cranky, harbor negativity or resentfulness towards those we see succeeding where we fail, and so on. We can sometimes see a fit individual and attribute what’s actually hard work to being overly strict or good genes, to being “orthorexic” or taking performance enhancers. Conversely, we may see someone (or be that someone) struggling with their fitness goals and blame it on a lack of commitment or poor self-discipline, “bad genes” or a thyroid issue. That’s not saying that some people don’t jack themselves up on hormones to get good gym results or that some people don’t actually have issues with their thyroid gland. These things certainly exist and can definitely impact our results.
But if a major health issue isn’t at the root of your struggle, stop the excuses. The only person whose results should matter to you are your own, because it’s what you’re working for. Drop the security blankets, whether that be an ice cream binge, negativity towards others, or “scheduling difficulties.” You want something bad enough? Put it in your schedule. You see someone who may be carrying a few more pounds than you? Don’t call them lazy; you have no idea what’s going on in their life and frankly it doesn’t concern you. You want to compare yourself to someone who looks like they stepped out of a fitness magazine? Fine, but it’ll drive you nuts. Why not just focus on yourself? Maybe stepping out of your comfort zone and switching things up in your routine is what you need. Cardio junkie? Get in the weight room. Addicted to the barbell? Try out some sprints. Shakes every day for breakfast? Fry up some eggs.

We are a society of the quick fix. What’s critical to getting out of the rut we can find ourselves in is kicking the “I-want-results-ten-minutes-ago” mindset to the curb. Look, I’m happy whenever a client comes to me and tells me what their goals are, whether that be weight loss, having more energy, or completing a 5K. But be aware of your starting point. If you’ve put a decent amount of weight on slowly over the last 5 years...it’s not going to come off in a month if you want it to be sustainable. Know that making changes to your life isn’t going to be easy, requires both mental AND physical perseverance, and know that you’re going to have to step out of your comfort zone.

Whether your security blanket is a physiological thing such as sugar cravings or a mental block such as a bad attitude, don’t for a second think that these don’t have effects on the opposite system. Thoughts breed actions, and actions affect how we think. Focusing our thoughts on “needing” a sugar fix will make us physiologically crave it more, will induce hormone changes to make us hungry, and can even affect our brain chemistry to reflect changes in our reward system to favor putting more sugar in our bodies.

So, what to take away from this? I would say an awareness of what you’re getting yourself into. Making change is never easy, particularly when it involves your health or changing your lifestyle. Having an awareness that we may need extra effort and patience to overcome negative physiological as well as behavioral patterns can help us be happier with our progress and all of the ups and downs that go with it. Know to have a good support network right from the get-go. Planning on cutting back on sugar? Some days, you may feel like you’re in drug withdrawal. You might be cranky and tired. But what’s the bigger picture? What do YOU want to accomplish? Better sleep? Better mood? Improved digestion? Better lifting results? You’ll get there - physically and mentally.

Dropping your “security blanket” (whatever that may be) and focusing on you and you alone is an integral piece of the puzzle. Knowing what behavioral and physiological trends may occur with a given health and wellness goal can help you get into a routine that will be most effective with your lifestyle. Your brain and body will catch up with your mental intentions, and continuing with the “right mindset” will help train your brain and body to do what you want. Questions? We’re here to help!

 

 

What’s the Scoop on Beef?

March 2015

by Dr. Jason Sonners

For some reason, human nutrition seems to be a topic of great confusion and controversy. This has always perplexed me, because if there is one thing we should all know and agree about in this day and age it should be what we are supposed to be feeding ourselves and our families.

I have spent countless hours studying nutrition because, as a father of two little boys and a health care provider, I want to be able to make conscious healthy decisions for my family and offer sound advice to my patients.

So, is animal protein a healthy food to eat? More importantly, is it really safe for us to consume? Over the years this food group has been studied and criticized for contributing to the decline of our health. While some of this may be true, I am not sure you have been getting the whole story….

Between, antibiotics, hormones, vaccines, GMO feed (genetically modified), radiation, transglutaminase (AKA “meat glue”) and poor living conditions, it is no wonder that studies find this stuff to be unhealthy! As consumers, Melissa and I have had a hard time finding sources of healthy animal protein to eat and feed our children.

The above list (which is also only a partial list) contains some of the reasons that animal protein gets such a bad rap from “health” experts giving nutritional recommendations. As it stands, when we do studies on Americans who eat the most amounts of animal protein vs. those Americans who eat the least, it shows high levels of meat consumption associated with increases in inflammation, cancer and heart disease.

Well, I would argue that when you study already unhealthy people (“average Americans”) and then you feed them high levels of unhealthy meat (the industrialized meat most commonly consumed in America) you should expect to find that those people get more unhealthy as a result. That actually makes sense.

However, there is an alternative:

For thousands of years, humans have consumed animal protein without seeing any increases in heart disease, cancer and systemic inflammation. The difference is simply in the quality of the product.

Animals, when raised in their natural environment and allowed to eat what they are genetically designed to eat, produce a safe and healthy product. This protein is not only more nutritious than what we are used to eating, but it also has within it the same valuable anti-inflammatories we seek in fish (EPA/DHA… AKA fish oil).

That is correct. Beef, for example, that is grass fed and grass finished, left to roam fields and not given any hormones and antibiotics, is full of Omega 3 fatty acids. This is true as well for chicken and the eggs they produce. This is in contrast to industrialized animals fed wheat, corn and soy (inflammatory grains) and who are completely sedentary in their lives. This produces a fatty and inflammatory food source.

So the key is locating healthy sources of animal protein which comes down to reading labels and finding sources we can trust!

As far as labels go, here’s what you’re looking for:

For beef: “Grass fed/Grass finished” is king! Even with industrialized farms, cows eat grass for at least a few months, but then are fattened up with corn and soy. They key is keeping them grass fed throughout.

For chicken: “Pasture raised” is king.

For all sources: Organic, free range, cage free, no hormones, antibiotic free are all good labels to have. Certainly better than the average protein sold in stores, but nothing replaces the “grass fed” and “pasture raised” labels.

I recognize that high quality meats can get expensive. For this reason, Melissa and I order in larger quantities from a place we trust for our family. We’re happy to share that supplier with you in case you like to check them out. Just click the logo below and you can order directly from them if you think this might be a solution for your family as well.

US_wellness_meats.png

 

Don’t Let the Winter Wear you Down

January 2015

By Dr. Matt McGowan DC

With the recent memories of last winter still fresh in our brains, many of us are already concerned with the aches and pains that this weather can bring.  Many people often associate thoughts of winter with bad flare ups of low back pain and discomfort.  While this is certainly the case, more often than not, the largest majority of pain we see in the office related to the cold weather is neck related.  You may be surprised to hear that, however since the weather has dropped below 40 degrees consistently we have seen an influx of neck related spasm and pain coming through the doors. 

You may ask why. 

It is a natural physiological response to always protect our most vital organs.  When we are in a stressful environment, the body will adapt by trying to raise core temperatures and protect any exposed vital areas.  That is why in winter time, if our necks are not kept warm we will instantly shrug our shoulders towards our ears.  It is our body’s way of trying to bring the brain closer to the warmth of the core.  This is not just the body’s response to physical stress.   Mental or emotional stresses aresomething we also try to escape from, almost like a turtle pulling its head back into its shell.  Considering all of the added stressors that the holiday season brings, it is no wonder why we end up with headaches, jaw pain, or spasms in our necks. 

How can we avoid this?

First and foremost we can keep our necks covered.  IF you are going to be out in cold weather, wear a scarf or have a jacket with a higher collar.  Try to catch yourself shrugging your shoulders up to your ears.  If you do find you are doing this, take three deep breaths and let your arms fall down to your sides.  Make sure you are taking care of yourselves mentally.  Stick to your yoga or meditation routines; don’t fall into the negative cycle of stress.  If you don’t currently have a routine to relieve stress, find one and find it quickly.  If you need any help with that reach out and we can help you find one.  

 

 

Heartburn Can Ruin Your Holidays

November 2014

By Dr. Laura DeCesaris

 

The holidays are quickly coming upon us and while that means spending time with family, friends, and other important people in our lives, it also means lots of food and festivities!  For some of us, that translates to days of acid reflux and indigestion following rich food or treats we don’t typically eat during the rest of the year.  Rather than popping an over-the-counter antacid or begging your doc for a proton pump inhibitor prescription, let’s take a look at some of the causes of heartburn or reflux that can be managed through diet, lifestyle, and supplements as we head into the next few months.

 

If you’re not properly digesting food and are feeling heartburn as a result, the last thing you really want to do is further limit your ability to break down food in the stomach by taking a medication that blocks stomach acid.  While some cases of heartburn may be due to an overproduction of stomach acid, these cases tend to be the minority.  Most of us just aren’t making enough stomach acid, combined with bacterial imbalances in the gut (dysbiosis) and/or lack of other important digestive enzymes.  Stomach acid is really important not only for breaking down proteins and absorbing vitamins and minerals, but also for steriilizing food against potentially harmful microorganisms.  Additionally, insufficient stomach acid can cause partially digested pieces of our food to be absorbed before they are completely broken down, ultimately leading to food intolerances and the now popular phrase ‘leaky gut syndrome.’  So, pair low stomach acid levels with a medication that decreases stomach acid production even more and you’re potentially setting yourself up for a gut environment that allows fungal and yeast overgrowth, bacterial imbalances, and poor absorption of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

 

While there are blood tests that can provide a pretty good indication whether you’re low in stomach acid or now, you can also simply pay attention to your symptoms.  Typically, heartburn after a meal containing protein means your stomach acid is most likely low.

 

“Yes, I think I have low stomach acid, but what the heck do I do about it?”  Some of the following suggestions can be very effective to keep your symptoms at bay:

1.  Add raw, crushed garlic to your diet.  It naturally helps lower levels of harmful bacteria and fungi.

2.  If you eat grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts, soak them and/or sprout them to improve digestibility.

3.  Increase your fiber to encourage healthy bowel movements.  Try a handful of dried prunes, dates, or ground flax or chia seeds.

4.  Add coconut oil to your diet.  1-2 tablespoons per day provide antimicrobial action.

5.  Try not to eat right before bed.

6.  Avoid simple or refined carbs such as white bread, pasta, baked goods, soda, etc. 

7.  If you can’t avoid some of these foods, consider adding in some digestive aid supplements to support stomach acid and digestive enzyme output.  Another option is to have 1-2 cups of organic bone broth per day.

 

As always, if you have more questions or would like to learn more about this topic, feel free to contact us!

 

References:

1.  www.bengreenfieldfitness.com/2013/07/how-to-fix-your-gut

2.  Montanaro C.  AK 100 Hours course, 2012.

 

 
 
Florham Park Chiropractor | Blog. Dr. Jason Sonners is a Florham Park Chiropractor.